One might assume that parents of six to twelve year old children would be in their thirties. That would put their parents somewhere in their fifties. This assumption would be on average. So, working with that assumption, one has to wonder who, and what, went wrong? 

The Sunday before last, as usual at four o’clock, a group of Pacific Harbour residents propped up the bar at the Uprising Resort and Spa to catch up, tell funny stories, exchange ‘bon mots’ and enjoy the beach-side surroundings and Robert Verma’s musical talents. 

The Uprising is often busy on a Sunday: there are, of course, the tourists; but in addition, there are the locals from round about and, of late, expats from Suva. The latter leave the city behind them and head for the gentler environs of Deuba’s most popular resort. Unfortunately, they bring their children with them. 

That last sentence might seem harsh, but the qualifying word ‘unfortunately’ had to be used because it is, regrettably, true. 

These, for the most part, expat parents seem to have no concerns whatsoever about how their children behave in a public space. They let their wretched little offspring run riot and uncontrolled. One wonders if these pests are allowed to run riot at home. 

Is there any understanding of parenting these days? Are children no longer taught to respect other people’s property? Presumably they are living in rented accommodation in Suva – no wonder a friend with houses to rent stipulates ‘no children’. 

The Sunday before last, our group watched several girls swing on, and eventually break, a young 5ft Macarthur palm. This tree was one of three, recently planted at a corner of the Volleyball court. A 5ft palm does not come cheap. One of us shouted out ‘No!’ – but too late – the fronds were broken from the stem and the tree was destroyed. 

There was some commotion as the girls ran off and, eventually, a staff member who witnessed the event spoke to a parent who seemed to be blissfully unconcerned. A gardener arrived to dig up what remained of the palm and we resumed our socialising. Until, that is, one of us noticed that a group of boys was similarly swinging on one of the remaining two palms and strode over to scold them and tell them to leave the trees alone: to no avail – a second tree was destroyed 

So yesterday, Sunday 2nd September, we gather again at our favourite watering hole and yet again we get to see a young lad wilfully grabbing at the fronds of the remaining palm: and again, one of us strode over to remonstrate with the child, whose parent ambled over, looking puzzled about why his child was suddenly the centre of attraction. 

Then the food and beverage manager joined us and we related the incident, since he had been most concerned the previous Sunday. He told us that their monthly repair and maintenance bill is through the roof. Every week, furniture is damaged or broken by children. Children use the new wicker loungers as trampolines while their parents ignore them. 

We wonder why it is that with a mile long beach, an ocean, and a swimming pool to play in, these children prefer to swing on young palm trees and jump up and down on furniture. We also wonder why their parents let them do it. 

But this writer, a mother and grandmother, wonders too, why these children do not seem to have any of the seaside accoutrements that she and her children provided for their offspring. Little people are brought to the seaside and left in limbo – no wonder they run riot.

We can’t blame the children. The blame is with the parents who take children to the seaside and lack both the interest and the imagination to make the day enjoyable for everyone. The parents who sit back and let their beastly little offspring destroy property that belongs to other people. 

Where has that unique and wonderful human attribute, imagination, gone? Whatever happened to shell collecting and the hunt for interesting pieces of driftwood and sea-glass?

 

Parents of 2012 – News Flash!!! There are mini versions of the ordinary household bucket and the garden spade. These are readily available as ‘bucket & spade’ sets and can be used to build things called ‘sand-castles’ and are handy when creating ‘sand sculptures’. There are also objects made from paper or plastic which are triangular in shape, with long streamer tails, and attached to balls of string. These objects are called ‘kites’ and they fly. There are also objects known as ‘Frisbees’ – these are plastic disks about the size of a dinner plate which can be spun in the air from person to person. A great beachside object is sphere-shaped and comes in many different sizes and is called a ‘ball’. Then there is the ‘skipping rope’ – a length of rope attached to two wooden handles – which has many ingenious uses: sadly it is illegal to use one to hang spoilt brats!